Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Monday announced in an open letter to the Parole Board that she opposed parole for Jimmy O’Neil Spencer. Spencer is accused of murdering three people including a seven-year-old child during his last parole in 2017.
“Under no circumstances should Jimmy O’Neil Spencer be given parole,” Ivey wrote to the Board. “Spencer is a career criminal who is still awaiting trial for killing three innocent people after he was wrongfully granted parole in November 2017. To parole him now would be dangerous and downright despicable.”
Ivey referenced Spencer’s “long rap sheet,” including multiple escapes before the triple homicide. Spencer’s parole was revoked due to violations, and he is serving his original sentence. He is presently awaiting trial for a 2018 triple murder in Guntersville. Spencer is accused of murdering 7-year-old Colton Lee, the boy’s great-grandmother, 74-year-old Marie Martin, and their neighbor, Martha Reliford, 65.
Spencer had been released to a halfway house in Birmingham but left after less than 20 days.
The Board denied Spencer’s parole application in June. He is scheduled to appear before the Board again on Tuesday.
The Parole Board is tasked with the competing interests of getting offenders out of prison and reintegrated into society while protecting the public and keeping the most dangerous criminals locked away. This continues to be a difficult balancing act. Bibb County Deputy Bradley Johnson was murdered and another shot by criminal Austin Patrick Hall earlier this year, and Sheffield police officer Sgt. Nick Risner was killed, and another officer was shot last fall by a violent offender who was wrongfully released for “good behavior.”
Spencer has been found mentally competent to stand trial, and the Marshall County DA is seeking the death penalty for the triple homicide.
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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